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Abstract

The abrupt change in habitat that occurs in the Tropical Forest of the Andes mountains at 1400 meters above sea level - the transition from Tropical Montane Forest to Tropical Montane Cloud Forest - is the cause of a remarkably high rate of species endemicism in a rare and diverse ecosystem, making the conservation of Ecuador's TMCFs a particularly high ecological priority. The Yellow Chinned Spinetail (Certhiaxis cinnamomea)is a relatively common and widely-ranging South American bird, and a prominent resident of the la Hesperia Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. The behavior and appearance of a nesting Certhiaxis family were recorded for approximately one week, and notes were compared to published observations of this species made throughout the bird's range. The Certhiaxis present on the reserve had a markedly different call and degree of territorial investment than Certhiaxes observed elsewhere in South America, suggesting the regional adaptation of one of the continent's most prevalent birds to the TMFC environment. The implications of these findings reveal the importance of preserving the environment that causes unique adaptations in local species. The protection of IBAs and the development of community initiative should be continued and encouraged by the Ecuadorean government. The conservation of the Ecuadorian TMFC may prove globally valuable on many fronts, ecologically and as a model of the conservation and management of endangered and threatened ecosystems.

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